From: Segun Babatunde in Bauchi (12/01/2021)
The Joint Action Committee(JAC) of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities(SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union(NASU), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University(ATBU), Bauchi Branch have joined the three days national protest over its contending issues with the federal government.
The JAC Chairman, Comrade Sulisma Jatau, who spoke to journalists Tuesday after the protest said that the two unions decided to embark on the three days protest to press home their eight demands.
Jatau said that they signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal government on the issues since 20th October, 2020 but nothing had been done.
According to him, the contending issues between the two unions and the federal government are: inconsistencies in the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS) payment, Non-payment of earned allowances, non payment of arrears of minimum wage, delay in renegotiation of FGN/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements and Non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members.
Others, he added, are teaching staff usurping headship of non- teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures, neglect and poor funding of State University and non constitution of visitation panels for Universities.
He said: “We have waited for so long for the federal government to be able to understand our plight. We have to cry aloud to tell the public that we have been shortchanged and the federal government is not sensitize our own plight that is why we have to hold this protest to press home our demands.
“We had to do this protest at this moment because of the announcement of resumption of the universities, we have so many lingering issues on ground and as law abiding Unions, we don’t want to disrupt the calendar of the schools that is why we want the government to be very proactive and come to our aid and meet our demands before schools resume or else anything that happens we are not supposed to be blamed.”
Jatau said that JAC met severally with the government which gave birth to the MoU they signed but to their dismay, up to this moment, nothing has been done.
Speaking on the pension arrears, he said that some of their members who retired two years ago are still being owed their entitlements.
“We cannot compute the months of pension arrears owed our members because up to now, they’ve not gotten their entitlements. Some of the retired last year some of them even retired two years ago, most of them have nothing to rely on.
“We as Members’ of these Unions are also potential retirees and we don’t want what is happening to happen to us later when we retire so that we can have a smooth transition especially now that we are contributing to this Pension Fund. We don’t know what is holding the federal government from paying our retirees.”
The JAC Chairman who said that after the expiration of their three days protest, if nothing is done, they will wait for directives from their national headquarters however, pleaded with the public to intervene so that there will be rancour-free universities.
On the IPPIS issue, he said that the three Unions in the universities with the exception of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) joined the IPPIS in error,adding that joining the IPPIS has made them poorer than they were.
He said: “The three Unions in the universities joined the IPPIS because we were deceived that it is a platform that will eradicate corruption and bring transparency.
“We even complained on some irregularities we have in some universities, we went there and rubbed minds and we took almost six months to tell them that we have some peculiarities in some universities and this platform will not capture.
“They promised us that that platform is flexible that it will encompass everything but to our dismay, when we joined, we are now poorer than we were.
“Our salaries are being deducted unnecessarily in fact, for the past 11 months, every month, we have different salaries. So we discovered that for you to correct one anomaly, you have to go to Abuja, this is counterproductive. We now believe that that IPPIS is more corrupt than where we were”. END